Did you know…
There were approximately 130,800 children and adults in the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 2012 who were visually impaired?
Every year in Kentucky approximately 550 children ages birth to 5 years will need specialized early intervention?
Individuals who are visually impaired can participate fully in all aspects of society including employment, higher education, independent living, mobility, and socialization and leisure activities?
80-90% of what a child learns is through vision?
What causes blindness & visual impairments?
There are many causes of blindness or visual impairment. Some babies are born blind. A person may be involved in an accident or have health issues that may increase the risk. Aging may also be a factor.
Common risks for a baby to have a visual impairment include: prematurity, maternal infections, family history, Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma (aka Shaken Baby Syndrome), and certain syndromes.
Adults may lose their sight due to glaucoma, diabetes, cataracts, and macular degenera-tion.
What are the most common visual impairments?
The most common visual impairments in children are cortical visual impairment, optic nerve hypoplasia, and retinopathy of prema-turity.
The most common visual impairments in adults are glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic reti-nopathy, and macular degeneration.
How will I know if my child has a visual impairment?
Some things to look for that may indicate a possible visual impairment include:
Tilts or turns head to one side while looking (child is older than 6 months)
Eye-poking, rocking, staring at bright lights frequently
Responds to toys only when there is accompanying sound (child is older than 6 months)
Moves hand or object back and forth in front of eyes (child is older than 12 months)
Squints, frowns or scowls when looking at objects
Consistently over or under reaches (child is older than 6 months)
Thrusts head forward or backward when looking at objects
How do people who are blind function in the sighted world?
People who are blind or who have low vision read using Braille or large print. They may also use magnification devices. Modern technology has revolutionized information access for blind persons, enabling them to use print materials through talking computer programs.
Independent travel throughout the community is accomplished using the long white cane or a guide dog. The cane enables a person to locate obstacles, landmarks, and structural features of buildings and environ-ments. Guide dogs are specially trained to assist in safe travel, with the user and dog working as a team -- the user gives the dog directions through words and gestures. Dog users must be at least 16 years old and have first had cane training to learn to travel independently. Under certain conditions, some people who have low vision may learn to drive using bioptic systems that combine prescription eyewear with a small telescopic system.
What kind of employment & recreational opportunities do people who are blind and visually impaired have?
All kinds! The list is inexhaustible, but here are just a few: farmers, attorneys, secretaries, factory workers, nurses, runners, musicians, golfers, baseball players, restaurant managers, child care workers, computer programmers, chemists, housewives, doctors, teachers, scientists, accountants, and journalists.
Children and adults who are blind and visually impaired can do just about anything a sighted person can do, but usually in a different way and sometimes by using adaptive tools or materials.